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Join us as we talk to the Directors and Assistant Directors before the release of their editions. Find out why they chose the theme and what articles to look out for! Lexicon is an online medical magazine which releases editions on a quarterly basis. Go to www.lexiconin.com for more information and to read our editions and blogs.
 
The Lexicon of Dread podcast kicks off with a chilling retelling of H.P Lovecraft's masterpiece 'At The Mountains of Madness'. Told from the perspective of a survivor of a failed Antarctic expedition, this novella is a cautionary tale about digging too deeply in Earth's remotest corners. What starts off as a routine fossil hunt quickly transforms into a mind-bending nightmare, as two men come face to face with Earth's most devastating secret...and the evil that calls it home.
 
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It’s tempting to imagine that a sentence will translate rather neatly, word by word, from one language to another. It’s also naive. English, after all, is relatively straightforward, while most languages are far more gunked up with complexity — perhaps none as much as Yimas. John explains. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this wit…
 
A young member of the Lahu tribe in Thailand. Lahu — spoken in China, Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia — beautifully illustrates how learning a new language is never so simple as merely learning vocabulary. John explains. Read more
 
Hunters on Yimas Lake in Papua New Guinea It’s tempting to imagine that a sentence will translate rather neatly, word by word, from one language to another. It’s also naive. English, after all, is relatively straightforward, while most languages are far more gunked up with complexity — perhaps none as much as Yimas. John explains.…
 
No matter how you say it, apples are delicious. English speakers might say that they “like apples” — however, in other languages, that sentiment is expressed more accurately as something like “apples please me.” Are we all thinking the same thing? John explains. Read more
 
The book and lyrics of The Music Man are replete with everyday, ordinary dialogue that, nevertheless, demonstrates how English often works. John explains. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalley.substack.com/subscribe…
 
Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers in Rocky, released in 1977. The word “yo” — as in “Yo Adrian, I did it!” — is thought to have originated sometime in the 1940s or so among Italians in Philadelphia. But there’s a case to be made that it traces back to Old English. John explains. Read more
 
Society of Friends founder George Fox, whose followers retained the use traditional, familiar pronouns. English used to have a more or less typical array of second person pronouns, with thou and thee for the singular — subject and object cases, respectively — and ye and you for the plural. So what happened? John explains.…
 
English used to have a more or less typical array of second person pronouns, with thou and thee for the singular — subject and object cases, respectively — and ye and you for the plural. So what happened? John explains. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalle…
 
The Garden of Palms in Paramaribo, Suriname The South American creole Sranan contains a perfect example of how the “Rodney Dangerfield pronoun” — as we have taken to calling it — can cement its way into the grammar of a language. John explains. Read more
 
My wife, she … Comedian Rodney Dangerfield was fond of introducing jokes with a kind of redundancy, for example: “My wife, she told me I was one in a million. I found out she was right.” But those seemingly superfluous pronouns are filled with promise. John explains. Lexicon Valley is a reader-supported publication. Please consider becoming a paid …
 
Comedian Rodney Dangerfield was fond of introducing jokes with a kind of redundancy, for example: “My wife, she told me I was one in a million. I found out she was right.” But those seemingly superfluous pronouns are filled with promise. John explains. Lexicon Valley is a reader-supported publication. Please consider becoming a paid subscriber. Thi…
 
A traditional dance of the Kwakiutl, who were known to hold potlatches. It’s often assumed that potluck is derived from the Chinook Jargon word potlatch, a Pacific Northwest ceremony at which gifts are exchanged. Sort of makes sense, only it’s not true. High muckety-muck, on the other hand … well, John explains. Read more…
 
Is picnic derived from a racial epithet? The racial reckoning of the past several years has altered the way we think about and use language, often for better but occasionally for worse. And sometimes, as John explains in this episode, what we tend to believe is at odds with what is most likely true.
 
The racial reckoning of the past several years has altered the way we think about and use language, often for better but occasionally for worse. And sometimes, as John explains in this episode, what we tend to believe is at odds with what is most likely true. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get acce…
 
Miles Davis plays a trumpet solo during New York City’s Schaefer Music Festival in 1969. Self, solo and even those idio- words — like idiosyncratic and idiolect — all derive from the same ancient root. Oh, and words like ethnic and ethic too. How can that be? John explains. Read more
 
Only, lonely, alone and even atone all derive from the number one, which, by the way, wasn’t always pronounced as if it began with the letter w. John explains. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalley.substack.com/subscribe…
 
Words like chit-chat, pitter-patter and wishy-washy are formed that way for a reason beyond the pleasing way that they sound. The vowel change actually signifies something more meaningful to our human way of thinking. John explains. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit…
 
What does the proliferation of so-called ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos say about the nuanced use of the word satisfying? John explains. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalley.substack.com/subscribe…
 
As a guest on The Late Show, John told Stephen Colbert that there was nothing especially interesting to say about the word I. Well, he takes that back — there is, it turns out, much to say. Have a listen. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalley.substack.com/…
 
Do you remember learning — in grade school most likely — the difference between a count noun and a mass noun? Probably not, and yet chances are that you use them correctly. That’s because you’ve mastered your native language. John explains. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episode…
 
We are frequently asked — often by young listeners who are fascinated by language — how English could possibly accumulate the many thousands of words that make up its vast vocabulary. It’s a topic that’s just too fun not to revisit now and again. Please follow us on Twitter (@lexiconvalley) and leave a rating and/or review on Apple’s Podcasts app. …
 
Hi Valley residents! It's Bob Garfield, former LV host, begging asking you to subscribe to my Bully Pulpit column at bullypulpit.substack.com. It's free, unless you wish to be a paid subscriber, for which you receive not a single extra bonus but the satisfaction of helping to keep my work going and my voice in the world. Either way, I'd be honored …
 
On Jan. 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy delivered — to an audience seated both outside at the U.S. Capitol and at home in front of their televisions — his inaugural address. Millions were stirred that afternoon by the rousing line: And so, my fellow Americans — ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. Ever…
 
What does it mean to be woke? Has the word problematic become problematic? Today in the Valley, John McWhorter talks with Banished host Amna Khalid about the fraught vocabulary of modern censorship. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalley.substack.com/subscr…
 
Lexicon of Dread returns with a rendition of “The Voice in the Night” by William Hope Hodgson. In the middle of a fog-shrouded night, somewhere in the Pacific, an isolated fishing schooner is visited by a strange entity. With a coarse, inhuman voice, he pleads with the crew for desperately needed supplies of food. After his request is granted, he t…
 
More than half the world’s approximately 7,000 languages will have no speakers left in the coming decades. Some are working feverishly to preserve or maintain them. Others are asking: Why bother? John explains. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalley.substac…
 
Do you know that the past participle of the intransitive verb lie is lain and that its past tense is lay, not to be confused with the present tense of the transitive verb lay? Oh, and do you know that no one really cares if you use them all correctly? John explains. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or g…
 
You might guess that Nigeria and Niger derive their names from the Latin word for “black,” especially since both countries were formerly colonized by Europeans. Guess again. John explains. Bonus segments are normally for paying subscribers only, but we’re making this week’s free for all! To support my work, please consider becoming paying subscribe…
 
President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee has said that her parents picked “Ketanji” from a list of West African names supplied by a relative. But West Africans speak hundreds of languages spread out across many hundreds of miles. Can we get more specific? This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to…
 
As John likes to say, Proto-Indo-European — the original ancestor of many European and Asian languages — began on the steppes of Ukraine. This is his linguistic love letter to a region and a people under siege. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalley.substac…
 
To describe inclement weather in English, we might say that “it” is raining, which seems natural to a native speaker. But does “it” refer to the sky, the outdoors, the god of precipitation? Maybe it’s not so natural after all. In fact, many languages do weather quite differently. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other su…
 
You may have noticed, among widespread coverage of looming Russian aggression, an unfamiliar pronunciation of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. What’s with the name change? And what does it have to do with Joe Rogan’s use of the N-word? John McWhorter explains. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access t…
 
A hot mic caught President Biden using the epithet to describe a Fox News reporter. Where did “son of a b***h” come from, and why are modern speakers increasingly choosing other insults? This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalley.substack.com/subscribe…
 
Actors Sidney Poitier and Max Julien and law professor Lani Guinier — all of whom died this month — have last names that reveal fascinating stories about pronunciation, etymology and language change. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalley.substack.com/subsc…
 
After narrowly escaping the Shoggoth, Dyer and Danforth return to their plane, determined to leave the Antarctic behind forever. The clouds part just long enough to offer a glimpse of those other, distant, supernaturally huge mountains...and the mysterious light they emit. As they fly away into the raging wind, Danforth witnesses something which ca…
 
Everything has changed. There is only one goal now: leave, and leave very, very fast. As Dyer and Danforth run for their lives, they can hear their pursuer not far behind them. But the identity of that pursuer is worse than they could have ever imagined.द्वारा John O'Brien
 
Gedney has been found...at least, what's left of him. Dyer and Danforth have barely recovered from the shock, when another reveals itself. Life in this unhallowed place exists in the form of a vast colony of blind albino penguins. The final refuge of the Old Ones can't be far away now. But what are those strange shapes lying motionless in the tunne…
 
Self-styled language experts — and let’s face it, that includes all of us — have lamented the decline of English for centuries. From shifting pronunciations to newfangled words to evolving grammar, everyone from Jonathan Swift to John McWhorter has a pet peeve or two. What’s yours? Happy New Year! In the warm and generous spirit of the holidays, we…
 
Dyer and Danforth are not alone in the dark. As they near the tunnel to the abyss, they discover items from Lake's camp. This includes paper on which drawings have been made: drawings that match the style of the Old Ones' carvings exactly. When they finally discover the source of this debris, the final mystery of the murdered Lake expedition is sol…
 
Happy New Year! In the warm and generous spirit of the holidays, we’re making this week’s bonus segment free to all. But there’s more: Until the end of the year, you can get 30% off a subscription to Booksmart Studios. You’ll get extra written content and access to bonus segments like this one. More importantly, you’ll be championing all the work w…
 
The carvings, which are growing more "decadent" and debased, continue to tell the Old Ones' story. Climate change and dwindling resources drove the Old Ones underground. The carvings reveal the presence of a vast subterranean sea beneath the city, where the Old Ones built a refuge. But that's that all: not far away lie mountains that dwarf those th…
 
An alphabet, one of humanity’s greatest innovations, is far from intuitive. Our own English lettering was borrowed from the Romans, of course, but where did they get it from? And where did the concept originate? John has answers. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit le…
 
Based on his and Danforth's observations, Dyer tells the story of the alien civilization, as revealed by the carvings. He tells of the creatures (dubbed the Old Ones) coming to the newly formed earth from deep space, their building of a globe-spanning civilization, their creation of all life on Earth (including the ancestors of humans), and their w…
 
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